This project aims on the continuous separation and recovery of nanoparticles by dielectrophoretic trapping in porous materials. The pore sizes are several orders of magnitude larger than the particle diamter to avoid mechanical filtration. The porous medium is placed between two electrodes which generate an electric field. The polarization of the filter material causes an electric field disturbance. The resulting inhomogeneous field can be used to polarize and dielectrophoretically move particles towards the pore walls, where they reside until the electric field is turned off. This allows switchable particle trapping with virtually no pressure loss and negligible fouling.
We apply numerical methods to understand the material and geometry influence on the polarization of the porous medium. Further, we apply this knowledge to develop and test several filter structures in a dielectrophoretic filtration process.